The Promised Land


Interweaving introspection with political commentaries, biography with history, The Promised Land (1912) brings to life the transformation of an East European Jewish immigrant into an American citizen. Mary Antin recounts “the process of uprooting, transportation, replanting, acclimitization, and development that took place in my own soul,” and reveals the impact of a new culture and new standards of behavior on her family. A feeling of divisions—between Russia and America, Jews and Gentiles, Yiddish and English—ever-present in her narrative, is balanced by insights, amusing and serious, into ways to overcome them. In telling the story of one person, The Promised Land illuminates the lives of hundreds of thousands. This Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition includes eighteen black-and-white photographs from the book’s first edition and reprints for the first time Antin’s essay “How I wrote The Promised Land .”